I was a senior about to graduate from the University of Oklahoma on April 19, 1995. I had been up all night studying for an exam, and woke up around 1:30 in the afternoon that day. I later remembered being jolted awake earlier in the morning by what I assumed was a sonic boom from Tinker AFB, but quickly went back to sleep. I decided to get in a workout before work and class -- so I hurriedly took a shower, got dressed, and took off in my car without watching TV -- completely unaware of what was going on in the backyard of the world around me. I rarely listen to the radio, and had a mixed cassette on in my car that afternoon. I arrived at Tan and Tone America to the most somber atmosphere I had ever encountered. The TVs were all on continuous news coverage, people were crying, and no one was really concerned with their tan or their figure that day. Ironically, six years later when our nation's next horrific event occurred, I slept through it as well. There are times now when I'm literally afraid to sleep ever again...
For the first time, Todd and I visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial with his family over the weekend. We had both purposely put off seeing it for this long. We just hadn't been ready 'til now. I spent most of my time walking through the pathways quietly, letting my camera lens absorb the images in front of me. I think somehow deep-down, I needed that buffer zone. Seeing the tiny chairs of the littlest victims was almost more than my heart could bear.
The photograph at left (click for larger pop-up) is part of "The Gates of Time". From the Bombing Memorial Visitor's Guide:
"The monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction 9:02 and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 on April 19. This gate marks the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03, the moment we changed forever.
The reflecting pool occupies what was once NW Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water is intended to help soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. Visitors may see their own reflection, a face of someone changed forever."